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Tony Committee Expands Nominators’ Klatsch Following Addled 2014 Race

By | Wednesday June 11, 2014 @ 12:19pm PDT

Tony Awards logoThe Tony Administration Committee, which oversees the Broadway awards jointly run by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, has expanded the list of nominators for next season’s awards to 50 people, including two from the administration of former NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The announcement comes in the wake of widespread dissatisfaction with the nominating process that culminated in the Tony Awards on Sunday, notably in the selections of nominees for Best Musical and in the number of stars in celebrated performances who were bypassed. They included Denzel Washington, Daniel Radcliffe, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Rachel Weisz, among others.

Related: Tony Bosses Condone More Loot And Revival Recognition But Kill Sound Awards

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TCA: Britcom ‘Vicious’ Retro But Very Contemporary Says Creator & Stars

By | Monday January 20, 2014 @ 1:09pm PST

PBS‘ Britcom Vicious is retro in form, contemporary in subjectTCADeadline__140109155905 matter and could not have been made on a U.S. network owing to the age of its actors, the creator and stars said today at TCA. Vicious stars Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as Freddie and Stuart, a gay couple who have been together for nearly 5 decades. 2014 Winter TCA Tour - Day 12The comedy, which already has aired its first season in the UK on ITV, would not have been done in the U.S. at this time, because both stars are in their 70s, all parties discussing the show at the Winter TV Press Tour agreed. This came the morning after NBC announced it was developing a sort of Golden Girls update — because, NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt said, it’s something he’s not seeing on the primetime TV landscape. While TV critics marveled at the show getting made at all — and PBS’ courage in broadcasting it, starting in July — McKellen, appearing via satellite, insisted it’s still much easier for actors in their 70s to get work than for actresses. Jacobi, also via satellite, said the public is clamoring for programming about older characters, without elaborating. He did say how good it is to be in his 70s and still be asked to perform (he also stars in the British  series Last Tango In Halifax, also airing on PBS, which earlier today made official its second-season pickup). Read More »

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Toronto: Bill Condon To Direct Ian McKellen As A Retired Sherlock Holmes

Bill Condon‘s WikiLeaks movie The Fifth Estate debuts in Toronto which kicks off today. The helmer will next turn to A Slight Trick Of The Mind, reteaming with his Gods And Monsters star Ian McKellen. McKellen will play a retired Sherlock Holmes who is haunted by a 50-year-old unsolved case. Based on a novel by Mitch Cullin, the screenplay is adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher (The Duchess). Icon UK’s production arm AI is financing and co-producing. BBC Films is also co-financing. Shooting gets underway in the UK next April. Anne Carey is producing via Archer Gray Productions. The King’s Speech producers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman of See-Saw Films; Icon/AI Film’s Aviv Giladi; and Len Blavatnik, whose Access Industries owns the Icon UK group; and BBC Films’ Christine Langan are exec producing. FilmNation is handling international sales. Condon is repped by WME, Anonymous Content, Wayne Alexander and Robert Nau. McKellen is repped by Chris Andrews at CAA and Paul Lyon-Maris at Independent Talent Group.

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Ian McKellen Sitcom ‘Vicious’ Gets Second-Season Order From ITV

By | Friday August 23, 2013 @ 4:27am PDT

Will & Grace exec producer Gary Janetti created Vicious with playwright Mark Ravenhill. When the sitcom premiered on ITV last April, it was the highest-rated comedy launch on any UK channel in 2013. The first six-part series has not run in the U.S., but I hear negotiations are underway. The second series order was announced today at the Edinburgh TV Festival. Veteran British thesps Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi play a constantly bickering couple who’ve lived together in a small London flat for nearly 50 years. Vicious is a Brown Eyed Boy production in association with Shine’s Kudos.

Related: Kevin Spacey Cautions TV Biz On Laziness At Edinburgh TV Fest

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Ian McKellen Sitcom ‘Vicious’ Debuts On UK’s ITV: Video

By | Tuesday April 30, 2013 @ 3:07am PDT

Britain last night tuned into a sitcom in the same time slot that drama Broadchurch occupied for eight weeks until last Monday. Family Guy and Will & Grace exec producer Gary Janetti’s sitcom Vicious premiered at 9 PM drawing 5.7M viewers for a 24% share. That’s down about 3.5M from the Broadchurch finale which gripped UK viewers last Monday, but still enough for Vicious to win the hour. It was also the highest-rated comedy launch on any UK channel this year. The six-part comedy stars veteran British thesps Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as a constantly bickering couple who’ve lived together in a small London flat for nearly 50 years. Reviews have so far been pretty mixed. There’s no U.S. outlet yet:

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MIPTV Briefs: Gary Janetti’s ‘Vicious’ Debuts; ‘Cybergeddon’ Does TV; Nordics, Latin America Hot On Formats

By | Wednesday April 10, 2013 @ 11:36am PDT

In yet another type of cross-border series – this one a sitcom – Family Guy and Will & Grace exec producer Gary Janetti’s Vicious premiered for buyers at Mip-TV last night. The six-part comedy stars veteran British thesps Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi in quite a departure from the likes of X-Men and Shakespeare. The pair plays a constantly bickering, but ultimately loving couple who’ve lived together in a small London flat for nearly 50 years. Their young upstairs neighbor is played by Misfits‘ Iwan Rheon and their best friend by Frances de la Tour of the Harry Potter films. Shine Group’s Brown Eyed Boy produced the show in association with Kudos Film and TV and Nickelby Inc. for the UK’s ITV. In keeping with current hit UK sitcoms like Mrs. Brown’s Boys, it’s shot in front of a live studio audience. There’s no U.S. outlet yet, but a deal was just concluded with Australia’s Seven Network. In a big push, Brown Eyed Boy’s Gary Reich, who’s co-producing with Janetti, says ITV will start trailering the series in British moviehouses and in video ads in the London Underground before the primetime debut later this year. Read More »

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Ian McKellen And Patrick Stewart To Star In A Pair Of Broadway Plays

Magneto and Professor Xavier are heading to Broadway. While a who’s who of UK talent gets set to tread the West End boards over the next year, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart have lined up their own theater gigs in New York. The X-Men franchise stars will play opposite one another in Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot this fall in a limited engagement performed in repertory. McKellen’s frequent collaborator Sean Mathias is directing. The Broadway venue, dates and the names of the two actors who will round out each play’s foursome are to come, according to Playbill. McKellen and Stewart previously performed Waiting For Godot under Mathias’ direction in a 2009 West End production. Stewart will play Vladimir and McKellen will play Estragon in Beckett’s classic absurdist play about two men waiting in vain. For No Man’s Land, a conversation between poets in a strange London house, Stewart will be Hirst and McKellen, Spooner. The pair first worked together in a 1977 production of Tom Stoppard’s Every Good Boy Deserves Favour and have played friends-turned-rivals in three X-Men movies. McKellen is starring in the upcoming ITV sitcom Vicious alongside Derek Jacobi and he and Stewart will shoot Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past this summer. The plays will be produced by Stuart Thompson and Nomango Productions.

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Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi Move In Together For Gary Janetti’s ITV Comedy ‘Vicious’

By | Monday November 5, 2012 @ 3:38am PST

Fresh from his latest turn as Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies, Ian McKellen is headed to the small screen. He’ll star with Derek Jacobi in ITV sitcom Vicious, from Family Guy and Will & Grace producer Gary Janetti. Janetti is scripting and co-created the comedy with playwright Mark Ravenhill. The British acting icons will play partners Freddie and Stuart, two men who have lived together in a small Covent Garden apartment for nearly 50 years. Freddie was a budding actor and Stuart a barman when they first met, but their careers are now pretty much over and their lives consist of reading books, walking their dog and bickering. Frances De La Tour (Hugo, Alice In Wonderland) plays the pair’s best friend. Vicious is produced by the Shine Group’s Brown Eyed Boy in association with Shine’s Kudos Film and TV. Brown Eyed Boy’s Gary Reich is co-producing with Janetti. Ed Bye is directing. Executive Producer is Jemma Rodgers. ITV will air the show in 2013.

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Ian McKellen Explains Middle Earth Muddle

Mike Fleming

Ian McKellen, who along with Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis and Cate Blanchett formalized his return to Middle Earth to reprise his The Lord of the Rings character Gandalf, has taken to his own blog to explain why his deal took so long. I’m still waiting for formal word on Christopher Lee to bring back Saruman, Ian Holm to do a small turn reprising an older Bilbo Baggins, and possibly Orlando Bloom to return as Legolas for director Peter Jackson. There might even be word on Hugo Weaving and his Elrond character. What I most love about McKellen’s missive is that a 71-year old brilliant actor takes the time to write his own blog, adding hot links (something I’m still getting the hang of). Here is McKellen’s dispatch:

All I had to decide was what to do with the time that is given me.

I’m 71 and fit: though at my age who knows what accident is ’round the next corner?  For a year or more, I have been arranging my professional commitments around the possibility of The Hobbit films starting at almost anytime.  We brought the Waiting for Godot tour of Australia to New Zealand early 2010, assuming I would stay on to start shooting soon after.  Then there was yet another delay: but in Wellington I met with Guillermo del Toro and later read his script for … Read More »

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Warner Bros Taking WW Distribution (And Paying For) ‘The Hobbit’

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: I’ve learned that Warner Bros will, in fact, pay the entire cost of the two installments of The Hobbit, a price-tag that is expected to exceed $500 million. Now, the question will be which cast members from The Lord of the Rings come back for encores. I’ve heard talk of conversations with Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis and possibly Elijah Wood. I’d heard Orlando Bloom was also in talks before the holidays. Returning actors will need to be locked in shortly.

BREAKING: MGM and Warner Bros have finalized a deal that gives Warner Bros worldwide theatrical distribution on  the Peter Jackson-directed The Hobbit. MGM will retain international television rights. This solves another problem on Jackson’s eagerly awaited followup to The Lord of the Rings, which has overcome an MGM freeze because of angry creditors, and the threat that the films would move away from New Zealand after local unions blacklisted the production.

Shooting begins next month, and Jackson is still in the process of locking in cast from the original movie, which is expected to include Ian McKellen’s Gandalf, Andy Serkis’ Gollum, and others. MGM, a half partner in The Hobbit, was expected to bow out of its international distribution role because the studio came out of prepackaged bankruptcy–headed by Spyglass partners Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber–with the intention of initially reviving the studio as a production company that contracts out distribution and marketing to others. Still trying to figure … Read More »

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